Thursday, May 15, 2008

Washcloths and Shades

I just realized I haven’t written much about Alice the Great Horned Owl lately. Sometimes I think I just get used to her antics and don’t think much of them (other than laughing when they happen.) But it’s time to share some again.

When Alice and I get home from work, as soon as I open the door and set foot into the kitchen Alice jumps from my gloved fist to the back of the closest kitchen chair. Heaven forbid the chair not be in its normal pushed-in-to-the-table position, or she might wind up landing on the floor. (This has actually happened when the chair was not even close to where it normally sits.)
From there I take the leash off the leather jesses that Alice always wears around her ankles, and Alice is allowed to do as she pleases. This almost always involves some hooting (she likes me to hoot back), then she usually heads upstairs (with my pajama tops if I forgot to bring them upstairs after my morning shower) where she passes the time watching the wildlife out the window at the top of the stairs.

Lately Alice has developed a new twist. When she finishes hooting, she hops/flies the short distance to the kitchen sink from the back of her chair and grabs the washcloth. From there she stays put, takes the washcloth to the floor, or takes it out into the living room. No matter where she winds up, she always clutches it tightly with her feet, reaches down to grab it with her beak, and with a solid tug proceeds to shred it.

You can’t just take something away from a Great Horned Owl who’s bound and determined to hold onto it. I’ve tried substituting an already-shredded washcloth by putting it on her feet over top of the intact washcloth. No go. She just tosses it aside and proceeds to shred what she has. There’s not too much I can do about it aside from really being mean about the whole situation. So I’ve taken to using half shredded washcloths to do the dishes rather than leave out any more intact washcloths (although I’m not sure I even have any….)

Another thing Alice started doing with some regularity before the washcloth episodes is to head upstairs into the bedroom after work. The shades are normally kept closed in there to discourage Alice from going in to watch out the windows (she can open the door since it’s warped just enough that it doesn’t latch well.)

Closed shades no longer stop Alice. I assume out of frustration Alice started biting and scratching at the shades. Well wouldn’t you know, if you bite or scratch just right (and give the right tug), the shades magically fly open! And then you can watch the goings-on out the window.
What this means is that the shades are kind of getting shredded. I’m would assume the long tears in them are from talons, but I’ve got to believe she also grabs the edges with her beak too, which results in less damage.

At one point I took the shredded shades down, intending to replace them. But then I thought “What’s the point?” New ones would get shredded too. So I just used a lot of packing tape to patch them back together and put them back up as is. And Alice still goes into the bedroom sometimes to open them up, but hopefully since they’re almost solid tape she won’t be able to rip them so easily.

These are just more reasons normal, sane individuals would never let a Great Horned Owl live in their house no matter what the circumstances.

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